“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine … There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me.”…..
President Trump told Ukraine’s president that “a lot of people want to find out” about the activities of former Vice President Joe Biden’s family in Ukraine and asked its leader to be in touch with lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr.
That’s according to a briefing for correspondents about the contents of the July 25 phone call, on Wednesday at the Justice Department.
The conversation raised concerns by a whistleblower that Trump may have broken the law by asking for foreign help in the presidential campaign. But the Justice Department concluded that based on the evidence that’s available, prosecutors “did not and could not make out a criminal campaign finance violation.”
Under the law, a “thing of value” under discussion has to be in some way quantifiable, and the Justice Department couldn’t find that here, officials said.
Zelenskiy told Trump that he would appoint the next top prosecutor who might be responsible for prosecuting corruption and that “he or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.”
Trump then told the Ukrainian president that he would have Giuliani and Barr make contact with him and that “we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out.”
Trump, on his visit to the United Nations on Wednesday, scoffed that the Ukraine affair is a “witch hunt” and that Democrats are worried about being defeated in the 2020 election.
Trump pointed to what he called the successes of his first term, saying, “We’ve got the strongest economy we’ve ever had.”
Flow of assistance was cut off
The president’s July conversation followed moves by the White House to stanch the flow of military assistance for Ukraine that Washington had been providing since the armed incursion by Russian forces in 2014.
Zelenskiy raised the military assistance in the call with Trump, according to the White House account. He thanked the American president and said “specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”
That’s a reference to the American guided anti-tank missile Javelin, built by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. The U.S. began delivering them to Ukraine’s military in 2018.
Trump responded to Zelenskiy with his request for a “favor,” mentioning the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike and a “server” — likely an allusion to the cyberattack against the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
The president also alluded to the testimony of former Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who had appeared in Congress the day before.
Zelenskiy and other Ukrainian officials were “blindsided” by the interruption in American assistance, according to The New York Times.
Other agencies in Washington were not briefed about any reason for the pause in the assistance, nor was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. After the matter came to the attention of more members of Congress, the assistance was restored earlier this month.
The whistleblower within the intelligence community brought the matter to the attention of its official watchdog, raising the prospect that Trump’s conversation might have violated U.S. law.
The inspector general concluded that it rose to the level of an “urgent concern” because the intelligence community is responsible for safeguarding elections.
Then the matter was referred to the Justice Department, officials said, which reached its conclusion about the paucity of evidence that a campaign finance law had been broken.
Justice Department officials also say Barr, the attorney general, learned about the conversation several weeks after it took place but has not spoken about it with Trump and was never asked by Trump to contact anyone in Ukraine.
The DOJ officials said Barr has not spoken about the Ukraine affair with Giuliani, either.
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” Trump tweeted. “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
“I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do,” Trump told reporters at the White House after making remarks on a health care initiative, adding that he’s “allowed to speak up” if others are speaking about him. Trump complained that Republicans were not given a fair shake, referencing an instance where Schiff stopped Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) from questioning Yovanovitch because the rules stipulated that only the ranking member or Republican counsel could ask questions during that period.
“BE QUIET” President Trump DEMANDS That a Reporter Show Respect To Him and The Office
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York, questioned Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, on the role of former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s role on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company. Stefanik questioned Yovanovitch after Rep. Devin Nunes yielded his time to her. The impeachment probe centers around a July phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. Yovanovitch has testified that she was forced out of her position after Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, engineered a smear campaign against her.
15 November 2019
Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, pointed her finger at Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani while detailing her sudden removal from her diplomatic post this year, as a new transcript between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released and the president said every place she worked “turned bad.” On the second day of nationally-televised impeachment testimony, Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, relayed her story of being suddenly recalled by Trump in May, saying she believes Giuliani played a key role in telling people she was not sufficiently supportive of the president. “I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me,” Yovanovitch said. She argued the efforts against her by the president’s allies hindered her work. “If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States,” Yovanovitch said. After the hearing started, Trump began attacking her, tweeting, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” He added, “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was ousted from her position, is scheduled to testify Friday, Nov. 15, in a public hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The hearing comes the same week that two other diplomats– George Kent and William Taylor, testified that they believed Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tried to dig up dirt on former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Kent testified that Giuliani also orchestrated a smear campaign against Yovanovitch in an attempt to force her out. The impeachment probe has entered a new, public phase and centers on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine—particularly a July phone call in which he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens. Watch Yovanovitch’s full testimony here.